As diversity continues to be an important issue on our campus, it’s also a significant issue nationally – especially in STEM fields. Alumna Anita Csoma was recently recognized among 100 Inspiring Women in STEM by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine for not only her work in the field, but her dedication to inspiring and encouraging a new generation of young women to consider careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).
After earning her Ph.D. in geology from KU, Anita worked with major oil companies ConocoPhillips and Shell. We were able to hear more from Anita about the award, her work style and her training as a violinist!
Hometown: Tiszavasvári, East Hungary
Undergraduate major: Geology, Eötvös Loránd University of Budapest
Tell us a little bit about your career journey: I started with ConocoPhillips in 2003 as a carbonate specialist after completing my Ph.D. After two successful years in the company, I received an attractive offer from Shell E&P in their ever famous carbonate research team in the Netherlands, which I could not pass up. I joined Shell, and had five amazing years there working on all the largest carbonate fields. In 2010, I received an invitation from ConocoPhillips to come back and build a Reservoir Quality Prediction team in their Technology Organization. It is a very rare opportunity to get a blank slate and be able to design something new for a company.
Tell me something extraordinary that I’d never guess about you: I was trained to become a violinist until age 14. Just before submitting my application for the conservatory, I changed my mind and signed up for a math-physics specialty high school in another town. Even though math and music go hand in hand, the change was significant. What this change taught me is the endless possibilities in life.
“I’m most proud of…” I am very humbled and touched to be able to stand amongst the 100 Inspiring Women in STEM who were selected by Insight Into Diversity magazine this year. Most of the recognized women are from academia; are deans of universities and established professors. Standing with them is really amazing. What I am most proud of, is the nomination itself. Prof. Robert Goldstein (Associate Dean of the University of Kansas) and Prof. Andrea Mindszenty (University and Academic Professor in Budapest) submitted the nomination with several supporting letters from my previous team members and interns. They have shared the nomination letters with me, and reading them is a reward in itself. This nomination encourages me to continue my path to create opportunities for communal creativity over individual creativity in our technical work environment. In addition it enforces my belief that we, women, need to mentor and encourage the new generation of women to take leading roles in STEM.
“I became a Jayhawk because…” I wanted to work with Bob Goldstein. I came over to KU during my master’s for three months to study fluid inclusions, and I loved it so much that after the first week I asked Bob if I could come back as his PhD student.
“My favorite KU memory is…” Making thin sections for my PhD projects during the night and watching the fluid inclusion bubbles jerk.
How would you describe your work style? Work hard, play hard!! I put all my energy into the job at hand with passion. I live by carpe diem at work and at home. When work is exciting everything is in smooth motion. As a manager, I focus on inspiring and motivating the team to always go beyond their perceived capabilities, with focus on the business need and their individual success, as well as the team’s.
My best advice for college students: Follow your dreams and always try new things!